(1718 - 1775 / Halisahar / India)

This Time I Shall Devour Thee Utterly, Mother Kali!

This time I shall devour Thee utterly, Mother Kali!
For I was born under an evil star,
And one so born becomes, they say, the eater of his mother.
Thou must devour me first, or I myself shall eat Thee up;
One or the other it must be.

I shall besmear my hands with black
and with black my face;
With black I shall besmear the whole of my body.
And when Death seizes me,
with black I shall besmear his face.

O Mother, I shall eat Thee up
but not digest Thee;
I shall install Thee in my heart
And make Thee offerings with my mind.
You may say that by eating Kali
I shall embroil myself
with Kala, Her Husband,
but I am not afraid;
Braving His anger,
I shall chant my Mother's name.
Come what may, I shall eat Thee up —
Thee and Thy retinue —
Or lose my life attempting it.

[Translated by Elizabeth U. Harding]

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